It has been alleged before that international umpires are guilty of spot-fixing too. On Thursday, the International Council of Cricket took a firm step by dropping Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf from next month's Champions Trophy in UK on Thursday after it came to light that the Pakistani umpire was being probed for spot-fixing. (ICC's full statement)
The link between bookies and umpires was first revealed by a television sting last year which accused six officials of indulging in match-fixing. Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka were accused of agreeing to help certain players, fix decisions and provide pitch and team related information.
The Pakistan Cricket Board suspended international umpire Ghauri for four years last month. The PCB said that Ghauri, who officiated in five tests, 43 one-day internationals and four Twenty20s, will not be considered for any appointment during the length of his ban. Domestic umpire Siddiqui was banned for three years after the PCB integrity committee felt he initially resisted the offers during the same sting operation "but finally conceded to them on their persistence."
Nadir Shah was also earlier banned for 10 years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board and since, the ICC has repeatedly said that it is committed to keeping cricket clean. Recent arrests of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers on charges of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League though has brought the underbelly of cricket in the open once again.
Former umpire Darrell Hair had said in October last year that it is the IPL which is to be blamed for match-fixing rumours involving umpires (Read). "There have been rumours going around for ages, since the IPL started, that umpires were involved. It all comes down to two things: opportunity and greed. If you're the type of person and you're given the opportunity, the greedy part of you will say, 'Yeah, I'm in'," he had said.
Now, umpire Rauf, a member of the ICC Elite panel, finds himself in the eye of a storm which, is not the first for him. In a separate incident, the 57-year-old was accused of having an illicit relationship with an Indian model. In August last year, the Mumbai-based model had lodged a complaint saying Rauf had made false promises to her on the pretext of marriage. The matter though was later resolved when she withdrew the charges.
Story first published on: Thursday, 23 May 2013 19:24 IST